“As if to emphasize the need for urgent action, just this week, in direct response to pending U.S. economic sanctions, Iran threatened to blockade the Strait of Hormuz—a move that, if carried out, would have profound economic and strategic consequences,” AJC Executive Director David Harris wrote in a letter to President Obama.
The latest sanctions were introduced after the International Atomic Energy Agency warned in its latest report that Iran is progressing toward nuclear weapons capability. In response, Iran’s first vice president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which about one-fifth of the world’s oil flows.
“As AJC wrote earlier to Secretary Clinton, we have long recognized the link between energy security and national security—and believe the United States must pursue a comprehensive, multifaceted energy policy targeted at substantially reducing dependence on oil from hostile or unstable foreign sources,” Harris wrote. “The Keystone project will be a critical part of that broad-ranging approach.”
The administration has until late February to make a decision on whether to approve the Keystone project, according to a provision of a bill that President Obama signed into law on December 23, setting a 60-day deadline for the administration to rule on the project.
AJC continues to recognize the need to ensure that the 1,700-miles pipeline be environmentally sound. But the global advocacy organization points out that according to a State Department assessment, a set of 57 additional safety requirements issued for the pipeline would, if met, provide “a degree of safety over any other typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system under current code.”
“Failure to move forward with the Keystone XL project as envisioned could, we fear, prompt Canada to choose alternative markets, denying the United States access to oil from a stable and friendly source, even as we transition to a clean, renewable energy economy,” Harris wrote. “It would also deprive us of the thousands of critically needed new jobs that Keystone development would create.”
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